Protesters in Hong Kong are doing everything they can to deter the police cameras’ facial recognition. They’ve been using high-powered, green laser pointers to practically ruin police cameras, but they don’t seem to be only hitting cameras on the opposing side. Some photographers who have been covering the protests are reporting damaged sensors when exposed to the powerful green lasers.

laser hitting camera sensor

Protester Laser-Pointers Meant for Hong Kong Police Cameras Might be Hitting Photojournalists

Pro-Democracy Protesters have been using high-powered laser pointers to scramble police facial recognition. They’ve also been using them to deter photographers from shooting photos.

China employs a very powerful, cloud-based, facial-recognition technology. It’s AI-powered and can easily help the Chinese government identify protesters. China has even gone as far as to label the laser pointers as an “offensive weapon,” with the ability to damage an officer’s skin and eyes. In turn, the police are starting to crack down on the lasers.

War correspondent Michael Yon [] has been able to document many of the protests so far. “I’ve seen a lot of lasers used in combat but never like this,” Yon told photography site, PetaPixel. “Mostly those lasers in combat were mounted on rifles, or aircraft, or were used to guide bombs and missiles. This is a serious evolution in use of pen lasers.”

“Police are arresting people they catch doing this. They tackled one woman and she tossed her laser just at my feet to ditch the evidence. That laser somehow disappeared.”

protestors using green lasers

There have been many photographers documenting the protests as well, but some of these lasers are hitting those cameras, too. It’s making Yon cautious about using his higher-end camera equipment.

“Seems my iPhone XS Max is damaged slightly, but I am unsure,” Yon tells PetaPixel. “If it is damaged, it is slightly. Am seeing what appears to be some artifacts after I took a direct shot. […] I have shot very little with my Canon due to gazillions of lasers.”

YouTuber thelastpeanut shared this video showing how the sensor on his Sony FS5 had been damaged by a direct beam right into the lens. He had a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 mounted on a speedbooster, shooting at ISO 3200.

So to all of the photojournalists out there covering the Hong Kong protests, be careful with your equipment. Try to anticipate in the moment to keep your gear intact and stay safe out there!

(Via CBC News & Petapixel)